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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 18, 2014 12:23am-2:31am EDT

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mccain-feingold. seriously. >> no. of my the first half career, the most i could ask anybody to contribute to my campaign was $1000. do you know how many phone calls you have to make add $1000 toece to get enough money wage a senate campaign? >> it was indexed. >> now it is $2500. you don't spend quite as much time on the phone. mccarthyle of eugene who probably took out lyndon johnson in the 1968 election -- eugene mccarthy went to five people, raised $100,000 from each one of them, fully disclose who they were, and went to new
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hampshire and did a good enough job in new hampshire to frighten lyndon johnson out of running for reelection. eugene mccarthy in today's world could not have done that because he would have had to raise that $500,000 from 500 people instead of five people on the phone call every thursday afternoon. you are over there at the committee making phone calls. you couldn't do it the way you used to do it. politics.ged the burden of fundraising is a direct result of the campaign-finance activity. pardon me. i didn't hear you. snowe, do you want to respond to that, to his point? donors?g fewer >> illuminating limits.
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>> it is the amount of limits. the debt was growing up financially before mccain-feingold. people found a loophole in the existing campaign laws at the time. i think what bob is referring to is not allowing political parties to accept soft money. there was a ban on soft money. it leveraged these other groups. i think the sphere of influence went to these outside organizations as opposed to the political parties who cannot not get leverage with candidates running for political office. that is something maybe we have to look at again in terms of whether or not you allow political parties to accept certain contributions. i don't know. i would have to really look at that. in question is more money the system. that would have been the case. the floodgates opened with citizens united, which again struck down a my provision, which was attempting to address these organizations.
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if they ran an ad 60 days before an election, and they identified tellndividual by name -- senator snowe to vote this way -- that would be considered a political ad, and then they would be restricted to the amounts of money they could receive. it would also have to disclose their contributors and the donor's name. unfortunately, that was struck down. --they did identify by name, didn't identify by name, it would not be considered an electioneering at. say one i do not want to belabor this point. this is such a complicated issue. it is something we are discussing as a commission. the problem with just allowing unlimited contributions to a candidate is exactly the problem we are seeing with the super pacs right now could it would
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allow a few healthy -- wealthy individuals to handpick some candidates. it would've stacked the deck. you would only have their hand-picked candidates able to afford to run for office grid we are sitting here talking about our concern for gerrymandering and districts that don't represent the face of america or the face of their particular states, and i think this, in another way, has a potential to totally corrupt the process. i think we need to think about other ways. i do think there has been unintended consequences for some campaign-finance reform. we need to think of other ways. maybe television time actually gets donated. why does it cost so much? this is a public service? i'm sorry for all the public -- television people watching this, but maybe there is some sort of contribution back to the public good or other kinds of things.i'm very concerned with unlimited . [applause] definitely a consultative
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topic. i think bonnie gorman has a to ourn with a solution problem. this will be our last question. she writes, women are better consensus makers than men. when selecting more women to congress help relieve gridlock? >> that is yours. [applause] >> that's the way it is, you know? >> we have now a record number in the u.s. senate, 20 women. -- not seem to behave that they are conservatives and liberals -- they do seem to behave in a different way than the men do. senator bennett, what is your perspective on this? >> you're going to say yes, right? >> you got together for dinner, right? >> we did, and they still do. we have regular dinners. personal dinners.
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we never had a disclosure. occasion, we invite the women justices of the supreme court. they, in turn, invite us to the supreme court for dinner. it is more personal, but we can talk about families and friends or what is going on, issues, whatever the case may be. there's no personal agenda. the point is you build a collaborative environment in which you can alternately build on -- ultimately build on. i think you saw that during the shutdown when the women of the senate decided to take matters into their own hands and change the direction. we had that camaraderie built from years of just working together, having time personally to spend together. commentll have a final from raymond -- he writes, the
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main reason why there is a divide is because half the people believe government is the problem, and the other half believe it is the solution. thank you. you will have our last word. i want to thank the bipartisan policy center, the cochairs and members of the commission on political reform, the edward m kennedy institute, and the john f. kennedy library, and our great audience. thanks so much for being with us. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] up won't stand we hope to see you on june 24 for the release of the commission's final recommendations in washington. i would ask the panel to stay seated. i welcome dan glickman, a cochair of the commission, for closing thoughts. >> thank you. it was terrific. these panelists were outstanding. senator bennett, i wish you had some strong views. it really disturbs me. i want to thank again vicki kennedy and the kennedy
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institute. i want to think heather campion and the kennedy library. and our great moderator, susan page who has been responsible for all the stories. i served in the house for 18 years. there are words inscribed above the speaker's chair by daniel webster. i used to look at this periodically. it said the following, let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, tilde updated incidents -- its institutions, carve out all of this great institutions to see if we also in our day and in our generation may not perform something worthy to be remembered. i thought to myself, that is the point of government. that is the point for us here, to perform something worthy to be remembered. in ain disagreement vibrant democracy, the goal is always to engage the issues in a way that our descendents would
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be proud and get the job done for our people, and also, bear fruit to the ancestors of our past, like daniel webster, that we are in this thing for the right reasons and recognizing these are not all abstract issues. america's leadership is at stake. our ability to be the beacon of hope for a world, to be that city on the hill and do the right thing for our citizens is very much dependent upon a strong and effective system of government at all levels. today, we have talked about reform.ional over the past year, we have talked about political polarization, ways we vote and choose our elected officials, how to increase opportunities for public service and develop the next generation of leaders. we have been hard at work behind the scenes, as most of the folks up here have talked about, to figure out recommendations for the future. we need the input of the public. onwant continued feedback
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twitter, facebook, instagram, or just the old-fashioned snail mail way to let us know what you think constructively we can do to help our political system, our democracy become more resilient. over the next three months, we will continue to discuss these issues with your input. the commission will reconvene in washington on june 24 two announce recommendations and report to the nation, the congress, and the white house reforms to improve our political system and the follow-up necessary to get things done. after the commission releases our recommendations, we need your continued support to urge our leaders to implement the solutions. you can sign up on the bipartisan policy center's website as a citizen for political reform and help advocate for political reform across the country. as we close today, i remember what john f. kennedy wrote in "profiles of courage" -- "the stories of past courage can
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teach. they can offer hope. they can provide inspiration, but they cannot supply courage itself. each personch man, must look into his or her own soul. it will take plenty of courage to make change. i hope all of us will find the courage to strengthen our democracy and ensure that america can continue to do things worthy to be remembered. thank you very much for being here. i appreciate it very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> tomorrow night on c-span, at 8:00 eastern, a political discussion with anna navarro, an adviser to the mccain and huntsman presidential campaigns. worked with who has howard dean. they were at the university of colorado at boulder to discuss congress and potential presidential candidates. here is a letter -- a little of that event.
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>> it was held a few weeks ago in las vegas. you can tell by who chose to whoicipate in that primary is looking, not necessarily who is favored, but who is looking at 2016. these are people who went to a world'sonsored by the eighth richest man, sheldon adelson, whose principal israel andre two -- the prevention of internet gambling, which will of course cut into the fact that he is the world's eighth richest man, largely based on casino gambling in las vegas and macau. the people who went to las vegas to see sheldon adelson included a man you may have heard of, chris christie -- he is the governor of new jersey, has him?dy heard of
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he has been out of the news. i just wanted to remind you he is the governor of new jersey, which includes part of the george washington bridge. only half of the george washington bridge, as my good friend points out. not the new york half, which has behaved a little bit better. ofumber of over -- a number other people went to participate primary.elson they included scott walker, the governor of wisconsin. they included john kasich, the governor of ohio. they didn't go because they , andd a trip to las vegas scott walker didn't explain what the hebrew pronunciation of his son's name is because he was uninterested in sheldon adelson support. that is what we call shameless pandering, which is what was going on in las vegas, but they
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understood that this was, as was the case four years ago when people came to visit donald needed, if they were seeking the republican nomination for president three years hence, that they needed sheldon adelson's support. >> in a few short months, the capitol visitors center will be completed. the work of this congress will be described to future generations. visitors will view an introductory film entitled "out of many, one." unim.ibus in my first speech as your speaker, i said solutions to problems cannot be found in a pool of bitterness.
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the framers expected the floor of this house to be a place of passionate debate, a place where competing ideas and philosophies clashed, a crucible where many ideas can be blended together to forge a strong nation, but this floor should also be a place of andlity and mutual respect a place where statesmanship and not just electoral politics and guide our decisions. .resident reagan was right there is no limit to what we could accomplish if you don't mind who gets the credit. ago, i broke with tradition and gave my inaugural speech from this microphone in the well of the house and not from the speaker's chair. i said, mycause legislative home is here on this floor with so many of you, and so is my heart.
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sitting in the speaker's chair is an honor i will always cherish, but i believe there is .ctual even greater honor it is one each of you share with me. it is bestowed upon us by the citizens of this country. theby one, as they go into voting booth and elect us with her sacred ballot, it is the honor of raising our hands and taking the os as a member of this half -- house of representatives and to sit at one of these benches. 4, i will bey privileged to rejoin you on these benches where my heart is here on the floor of this great house. from 35more highlights years of house for coverage on our facebook page. by america'sed cable companies and 35 years ago and brought you today as a public service by her local cable or salad provider. moments, a manhattan
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institute discussion on the future of conservatism and the republican party. half, hosting a supreme court justices antonin scalia and ruth bader didn't spring. then, we will re-air the forum on how to reform congress to make it more efficient and less partisan. on the next "washington journal," we will focus on research into unmanned aircraft, commonly referred to as drones. beginning with brian fung, technology writer for the "washington post."we will take you live to virginia tech sitea research and testing -- for a research and testing site. our guests include john green, executive director of the mid-atlantic aviation partnership, and craig woolsey, head of the virginia system -- center for autonomous systems. is live on journal"
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c-span everyday at 7:00 a.m. eastern. join the conversation on facebook and twitter. >> good evening. i want to thank you for joining us tonight for this discussion of the future of conservatism. what is the future of conservatism? what policies should embrace? there are a great number of people qualified to discuss
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these questions. we have assembled a number of younger leading-edge journalists, scholars and authors who come from a variety of backgrounds to discuss what the way forward could be. they will not always agree, but perhaps through a thoughtful discussion we will illuminate the finer points of the debate. in a way, it reminds me of the early days of city journal, when people like kevin mcdonald and george kelling, hardly people who would be characterized as classic conservatives, manage to get together and form a conservative policy that was both coherent and successful. i feel like in many ways we are at the same kind of point in history. in any event, we are glad to bring together this group. their resumes are very long.
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they're very accomplished for their age. i won't go through all of their resumes, but i am happy to welcome our panelist. oh, good. better late than never. finally, we are very grateful to our moderator this evening, david brooks, columnist for the new york times whose very successful career has always been directed toward what is new and interesting in the world of ideas. again, thank you all for being here this evening and thanks to those of you watching over the internet. please join me in welcoming the moderator of this evening's discussion, david brooks. [applause] >> thank you, larry. i was thrilled when larry called to ask if i would take part in the panel.
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then it became clear that i was actually too old to be a panelist. i used to be one of these people. now i am no longer on the leading-edge. i am just a dying ember. i am so pleased to be joined by my first research assistant. judging from the days when he and i work together, he is just waking up. it's good that he rolled out of bed in time for this. i am going to start. here are a couple of quick questions. hopefully not too many and we can cut each other off. let's begin with what is the problem and conservatism. i am going to mangle conservatism and the republican party together. >> i was going to say we don't know how to make an entrance until he proved me wrong. the problem is that conservatism and the republican party are not connecting to the issues of the day.
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a lot of people are finishing sentences that other people started in the early 1980's, and they forgot other sentences started and why. while i think a lot of the problems we face are actually very amenable to conservative ways of thinking and conservative solutions, the republican party is not doing the work of connecting their ideas to today's problems, and voters know it. >> do you agree, and if so, what are today's problems? >> there is a big problem with the coalition that came up in the 1960's and 1970's and flowered in the 1980's. there are problems that existed in 1979, and we solved them. republicans forgot to declare victory and go home. for a long time, tax, tax, tax, was the only thing we could agree on, even though we had cut
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taxes and deregulated a lot. that is not speaking to where the american public, especially after the financial crisis, one to hear her solutions for the current generation and the problems they have like long-term unemployment, feeling mobility and opportunity are contracting. they want the republican party to speak to that and talk about how there is no longer advancement. >> are those the issues? >> there is an antecedent problem. the antecedent problem is a lack of diversity in the people who vote republican and represent the base of the republican movement, not just in terms of ethnicity and race, but also in terms of regionalism. it is a southern party, not a northern party. i think the democratic party today has a much more legitimate
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claim of being a national party than the republican party does, and that is one of the reasons the democratic party does a better job speaking to those issues today. >> there is a sentiment that it is a white party looking for an america that is never coming back. >> there is that sense among some people. you hear "this is not the america i grew up in" as a proxy rhetorical statement. conservatives have long prided themselves in thinking well, we treat everyone as an individual. it's the other party that treats people as coalitions of race and aetna city. nice and ethnicity. nice and ethnicity.
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i don't think that's true anymore. i think it has become a little we have to step outside of that and realize that some of these people, we don't treat them as individuals. we say those are democratic voters and we don't need to reach out to them. problem, thetopic mobility, and a demographic problem. >> i think the identity problem is the real thing, but i think if you have the right policies, that becomes easier to fix. managed to consolidate the black vote because they made the correct appeals on policy. the problem is not just the republicans are going after problems that were fixed. set of problems has arisen the conservatism does not have ideas to address. there are two main ones.
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one of the key propositions of economic conservatism has been wery first about growth and shouldn't worry too much about distribution, but when you have returns occurring disproportionately, that no longer appeals to the middle and lower classes. and then we just went through this severe recession. conservatives have been making the same economic policy prescriptions in 2010 and 2012 .hat they were making in 2007 what that says is that there is nothing the government can or may be nothing the government should do about recessions. one is wrong and the other does not appeal to people who are in pain. one of the propositions that conservatism puts out is if you don't want to give into the temptation to do too many transfer programs because while
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they create a safety net and reduce risk they also slow trade-offrowth, that of more security for less growth prettyually look appealing, especially if the growth we do get is accruing disproportionately at the top. aboutan conservatives say this economy echo it is a difficult question but one that needs to be addressed. growth producing risk and decoupling from wages. >> i think our mental model of capitalism right now is wrong and because it is wrong we gravitate to the wrong solution. when we think about globalization, for example, we tend to think of a model in which we see dobbs flocked from the united states to china. -- jobs flockies
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from the united states to china. the division of labor is global in scale, but you still have hierarchies. you have the more privileged parts were value is captured, and you have less privileged parts. the change that happened after manyate 1980's is that countries became integrated and specialized in the division of labor. the most privileged and best places to be in that division of labor are still the united states in places like it, but the people at the top of those hierarchies are not all americans. it's not the entire country. manufacturetions 40% of what is made in the world, but the value is not flowing to the population. capitalism is working extraordinarily well. globalization has been miraculous in terms of raising living standards around the world. the question is where are you situated in those hierarchies. the problem in america right now
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is that a chunk of the population exactly where you want to be in terms of the way the new capitalism works and the other chunk is not in a very good place. they are in and in between place where other people can do some of this work better than they can. that is a core challenge. conservatives have the right instinct about it but there has not been enough rigorous thinking about how to address that problem. >> does anybody disagree with this basic notion that capitalism is somehow not functioning in the way the 1980's model assumed it would? >> i think in some ways that mrs. gripes the model. is-ascribes the model.
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the idea of what america is is shaped by a postwar america that could not exist again and is never going to exist again anywhere else in the world. the country that won a war and strengthened its economy while all of its competitors burned each other to the ground and so for a decade could contain within itself the growth of capitalism. way,ugh all did rise in a to some extent, that model defines our expectations in a way that is going to be very difficult to change. i had the experience last year charles murray's new book right after reading paul krugman's. they start in the same way, pure nostalgia for the 1960's, and almost in the same terms. and they are right. those are years we should miss. lote are -- there is a
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about them to miss. but our policy has been geared around how to bring them back as opposed to how do we deal with today. both parties are intellectually exhausted at the same time in a way that is very bad for the country. was big.vernment big labor was big and there was a lot of economic dynamism at the same time. that's true, but it doesn't mean we could do it today. >> so what is the future? the 60's were pretty good to me. i know you guys don't remember it. >> we weren't born then. >> that's why i enjoyed them. [laughter] >> one way to think about that is that an important difference between the two parties now is that democrats tend to think about the future in terms of large institutions.
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republicans, when they think about it at all, which is not enough, tend to think about it in more decentralized terms. in that sense, i think republicans might better be to have a vision of the future than the democrats. a huge rewrite of options in a decentralized space. that is what the future -- variety of options in a decentralized space. that is what the future looks like. >> i would amplify that even further by saying that the information economy is a fundamentally different type of economy than the industrial economy. i think the political class in general, having been raised not just on 1950's nostalgia but on the industrial idea, is not as quick to think about how the country is fundamentally different, and that leads to a different set of policy problems, for example, what you do with unskilled male workers
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who are left behind. it goes beyond that. it is about a pace of innovation and a type of innovation and the labor force that is very different from what the political class -- political people and people who are intellectual tend to be old-school in the way they live their lives. they write. they read. that is not necessarily with the average person is doing today. i think people in that economy are much more attuned to that than the people who comment on it. i would like to push back on that a little bit because i think the 1950's and 1960's were phenomenally innovative. there was phenomenal all construction and deconstruction going on. less innovative now than we were in many ways during the postwar. i think we are going to be even less innovative in the future
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because of the aging of the world. older people -- as i look at moreing 1 -- tend to be conservative temperamentally. but there is also this thing that if you're 57 and i come to you and say i want you to give me half your savings. i have a great opportunity. in 30 years you can be a billionaire. what, you're going to have the best nursing home in america? the calculus of risk taking radically changes in middle-age. we are doing well compared to the rest of the developed world. that is a huge challenge that no party is speaking to at this point. >> you all made the point that a core distinction between left and right in the future is centralization versus decentralization. i want to get back to that point in a minute. let's go to megan's point, which book called the great stagnation from a couple of years ago which argues that
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we are winding down productivity or at least we are in a time of slow technological innovation and rose. that ties into the idea that america is on a downward slope. do you buy into that? >> i am not sure there is much policy can do about that. i tend to think that the likely long-run pace of gdp growth is acceptable to the extent that it is distributed in a way that people feel they are getting standard of living growth. part of the reason i wonder about how much policy can do is because i think we have been in an environment for the last decade where we have had a de facto weakening of a lot of intellectual property protections such as copyright and patents. >> there has been a weakening. wakes de facto --
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>> effective. there is rampant piracy and music. hasar as i can tell music not gotten any worse. the revenue model of television and movies has been disrupted but the quality seems to be improving. this is bad for producers but good for consumers. what it makes me wonder is for the quantity of innovation we get is the ip policy matter that much. of the ability of policymakers to influence it, so it's not where i would direct my energies. >> i have great respect for tyler but i completely disagree with his thesis about the idea that the low hanging fruit of innovation has declined. if you look at molecular biology and genetics, we are barely in the first inning if even in the first pitch of what will be an incredible revolution of our knowledge of how the cells were, how the brain works, how the
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body works. thing we're missing when we are too optimistic about that side is the risk of the a catastrophic fiscal and financial crisis, which is what got me into this world out of the business world i was in before. we have more of a conception of what that could look like and we did in 2007, but we are so far removed from the depression that we really don't understand what a true catastrophic financial crisis could look like. >> didn't we just go through one? >> i was not as bad as the depression. >> think something conservatives have not fully processed is how traumatic this has been for much of the country. >> i think it is nothing compared to what will come if we don't get our house in order fiscally. the past is not a predictor of the future. >> sure it is. >> ok, well. let's get to the core question of the future left-right divide
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of the country. on all have put something the table. centralization, decentralization. that strike everybody as true? >> i don't know. i think the core fight is the one we have been having politically about economic distribution and the role of the government as a redistribute or of poor andr middle-class interests. it is not a fight we are done having, but to put it bluntly, it bluntly, it's sort of the myre's my growth, where's piece of the economy. that's going to be the key question. >> you think wage amelioration is going to be decentralized. >> i think the two are closely connected. there is a real logic to the left and the rights ways of thinking about the role of government in our economy and there is a real difference in where the left thinks in terms of managing large institutions. as a set ofety
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systems that are disordered and require better organization. it is a coherent argument. i don't agree with that but it's not a crazy argument. the right seems to feel that the role of government is not to manage the sides, but to create the space in which the sides can flourish. and that looks like chaos, and it is in many ways. that is how innovation happens. it's also how problem-solving happens. it happens in a local way, one-on-one, through local markets and institutions that bubble up, trial and error and pilot programs, not a centralized here's the technical answer. to ank we are hitting back place where things are coherent and there is something like political economy on the table rather than just technical economics, where economics is subsumed by argument about priorities which in turn is subsumed in an argument about what american life is really all
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about. that is why i think conservatives could be better positioned than they now seem to be to address the public stories in a way that makes sense to voters. people have a sense that we are living in a society that is decentralized that offers them a huge range of options. younger people, in particular, like that and expect that and want that. you see that in the health-care debate. the sheer consolidation of large systems that is involved in the left way of thinking is not appealing to a lot of people. the right, i think, has not offered a coherent alternative. and you don't see people going around and saying we have a view of the government creating a space and allowing people to function in that space. allowing competition to happen. rhetorically, conservatism isn't that. it is solutions to problems that the lateinent in
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1980's. have two stories in terms of how i think about the future of the left-right divide. one is that the left is a party of democracy and the other is a diversity. in the first story, the idea is that when you are contacting a republic, they a are similar entities. their legal, institutional entities that own themselves and have their own cultures". -- own cultures and codes. have one that succeeds and other corporations mimic that corporation until a newer more successful model emerges. the appeal of democracy to the left is we have true egalitarian function making and organization that leads to a different type
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of decision making. that's an attractive story to tell. the story you could tell going how we make different decisions. it's actually a good thing to have the trial and error process. ,ou cannot just say what works determine what works through a randomized controlled trial and then distribute that to all of society. the question is what works where. that i haveory become more and more concerned the leftthe idea that is very concerned about the . butibution of resources there are growing populations that are marginalized from the pieces of our culture that are actually working very well.
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when you think about civil society, we tend to think about formal institutions. also think formal networks. when you think about friendships, for example. when you think about how upper middle-class people think about friendships as vehicles of mobility whereas working-class people tend not to be connected to the networks that give you access to upward mobility or opportunity. i actually think that when you think about inclusion and the goal of inclusion, it leads you to different policies. minimum wage. if you care about inclusion, it's a big deal. it is locking out a swath of the population from mainstream institutions that allow people to accumulate resources, build social connections and break out of the isolation that is toxic.
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that suddenly becomes a very big deal. that's not to say that inequality is not a problem at all. it's to say that maybe we ought to think more about inclusion and then we have to look differently at a whole host of questions including immigration, integration, housing markets, zoning laws, but i really think that is the debate that i would want to see. >> let's try to get a concrete view. i will introduce two characters. john is 42 years old. he used to work at the mill. forow works at a warehouse nine dollars an hour. pretty much stagnant wages when he is employed. not going anywhere. sort of falling through the cracks. 2 e is a waitress making $27,000, two kids. offeringrepublicans these people? >> that's the question. the problem is this nebulous idea of the decentralized system
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of networks that we are not telling you what to do, we are trying to build the environment. increase inthis big perceived and actual economic risk over the last few years. what the left has is a suite of centralized programs to offer that are designed to mitigate and the pitch we are proposing to offer from the right is basically we will have pilot programs and state governments will take approaches of their own and figured things out. we will have civil society and such. that creates a lot of risk which is compounded by the fact that when you look at actual republican politicians, they have not expressed a lot of interest in doing policy innovations. ,n these core economic issues although i think they have been innovative on issues that are not escorted the debate today. one problem is a credibility issue. also, it is not responsive to
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this broad new problem of risk. i think the way conservatives can adjust to that to some extent is to move away from fiscal policy emphasis. there are areas. there is still deregulatory opportunities at the local level, occupational licensing, planning and zoning. there are opportunities at the federal level in intellectual property were you could unleash market forces, create faster growth, beat down rents so that you return -- improve returns to labor ella 10 of two returns to capital. but i don't -- relative to returns to capital. is a way tohere talk about this that democrats also aren't, which is reciprocity. one way to view the world is to think about what happens economically either as a forger does where you have higher risk -- you know, you go out hunting,
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and maybe there is nothing there. maybe you are a bad hunter or maybe there is no animal there. or you can look at it as a farmer. you put it in the ground, you do the work, you should get the crop, right? how we judge economic policy often very much boils down to is this outcome fundamentally about risk or fundamentally about effort. the thing though. forager societies still have very tightly linked networks. is a position democrats are often in the place of advocating now, which is that the rich are taking too much. we need to take it from them. what obligation do these people have? none. we have been cheated. i think what republicans can do is look at a policy emphasis and say, if you do the right things, it should be possible for you to
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get ahead. it should be possible for you to stay connected to the labor market. looking at policy through that lens, things like wage subsidies, trying to get long-term unemployed back to work through tax rebates or what have you, those are things that say you are doing the right stuff and therefore you have -- we have an obligation to you. the rightnot doing stuff, we don't. if you're not trying to work, we don't have an obligation to support you. party hasink either captured that space yet and that would be a good space for republicans to go. >> tell me how wage subsidies would work. >> there is a problem right now which is that americans are not competitive with chinese workers or whatever. or they are not competitive at the level their parents worked at. so they are downwardly mobile because the work they do doesn't pay what it paid their dad.
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saying no,f them are why should i do this. this is demeaning but i have to go work for a pittance for the rest of my life and it's all downhill from here. whichy go on disability, is a terrible program in many ways, not for people who are truly disabled, but it is becoming like a backdoor trap unemployment insurance. and it was not meant to have that role. what you can say is we are going to make up that difference. we are going to make it easier for you to support a family at the basic level your dad did it, at least, on the same kind of .ork and maybe you are 55 years old and you're not going to go back e anollege and becom electrical engineer. that ship has sailed. but we are going to make it possible to maintain a minimum provided you are doing 40 hours a week, 50 hours a week. >> we being the federal government.
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andts tax rebates subsidies. there are ways to structure this so that it works. right now, you can work for a very small percentage of the year and get quite large subsidies for that. to raise a couple of points related to your original question. increasingly wealthy society can have more expensive .ocieties a starbucks paris stood does better than her counterpart did 50 years ago. the millworker though, that job is gone and not coming back. i don't think either party has a particularly good solution. there is one thing we have ignored. we have talked a lot about income inequality, but we don't talk about the importance of cost of living well it if -- living relative to income
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inequality. if you live in a low-cost part of the country and your wages are low, you're not that bad off. it's trying to live on that wage in new york city that stuff. has to do with the fact that both at the local level in the federal level we have done a lot to drive up housing, food, basic goods and services that a low income person will have. so a message that is very free-market oriented that will help that person is to say we are going to drive the cost of your health insurance down. we are going to drive the cost of your housing, your mortgage, your rent down. those things make it easier to live your life. does everyone here agree it is a decent idea or? >> i think it's a decent idea with the caveat that there are still a large number of people looking for work relative to the number of people hiring. wage subsidy is only going to further imbalance that by
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drawing more people into the labor market. it doesn't mean it's a bad idea, it just means it's ever more important to have policies to promote full employment so that translates into higher incomes rather than just paywing firms to play -- to lower wages. >> i actually fundamentally disagree with that. market looks great. leave it alone. it's fine. it's recovering. it's back where you want it. it's of this labor market. one thing you could try doing is making that labour market cheaper. the payroll rebate tax one month for every month someone has been out of work. tois obviously not going take every long-term unemployed person and fix the problem, but there are ways we can redirect this and say look, we know you want to work. have been
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we are going to try to make it more attractive for employers to hire you rather than another guy. i think it's basically -- >> go ahead. long-run trend that has actually been getting worse in the last few years of rose relative to gdp growth and productivity growth. that is due to health care cost and not all of it. to a cultural problem that conservatives talk about that there is a declining work ethic are less pride the people taken work. i think part of that has to do with the fact that you have this wages.growth in >> i think you are agreeing on that. >> i agree totally on the particular point.
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it points to the larger economic debate that has been emerging in the last two years, especially in the last few months. i think there is a lot of room for conservatives to highlight the ways in which there ways of thinking about helping the poor and middle class are centered around work. it has to be centered around work. some people have been doing this. senator rubio has an idea out there now that would distinguish in a sharp way between benefits they go to people who have a job and benefits that go to people who don't have a job. he is not ending benefits for people who are not working, but benefits for them would be in kind, housing, food, medical coverage, whereas all benefits to people who are employed would be cash benefits. work would always be more attractive than nonwork. >> using the same amount of money, even using the same money, cash benefit is
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more appealing than a kind benefit the tells you what to do with it. andake work more appealing to make work the center of what we think it takes to rise in america. i think that is extremely important. nowdebates we are seeing are political economy debates. they are about priorities more than they are about technical questions about how to get the economy growing at this rate or that rate. and that is healthy. that is what our politics should be about and what our economic debate should be about. neither side has worked out there argument very well, be at is shaping up to genuine difference. it shows itself in the health care debate, the labor debate, the debate on welfare, and it is a big part of our politics going forward. >> you have worked as a hill staffer and a white house staffer. you spent a lot of time with members of congress. how big a gap is it between this
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conversation and the kind of conversation elected officials are having? >> how big have you got? i think there are a few members of congress who are in this kind of conversation, and i think it is probably unreasonable to expect there will ever be more than a few of them. the question is how influential they can be, and at this point, i don't think they are influential enough. i think paul ryan thinks about some of these questions. i think dave camp thinks about some of these questions, and their committee chairman. mike lee is taunting in ways that are very interesting and constructive about these kind of issues. he is not in the leadership. he is at the back of the list of the minority party at the senate. there is a lot of room to go. the debate that is happening about that, about what the , in my mind, be
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there is still a debate about whether there should be an agenda, not whether -- not what the agenda should be. they are fighting in a vacuum and the vacuum is important because of the inertia and because of a lot of arguments that don't make sense to me but to people sense during political seasons. logic of they the romney campaign and i don't think it worked very well. and i never think it could've very well. >> a lot of this is about to be shaped by primary season for -- primary season.
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what are the debates that seem obvious that we are about to have? >> just to build on that question and also what you have all just said, this is why i think the demography of the antecedent policy -- this is the reason the policy makers and the republican party can't get anywhere and don't have any influence is because the people who vote republican aren't especially interested in that aspect of the republican policy agenda. the key thing i think about when i think about who would be a favorite in 2016 is who can expand who votes republican the most, because that is what presidents do. josh mentioned civil rights and the democrats. a lot of democrats were opposed to it. what happened? the iron will and incredible rammed of lbj who through civil rights despite the opposition of democrats, and in time, that got democrats the allegiance of black voters. perhaps republicans need to do something similar with the
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conservative message that appeals to a broader slice. >> are you saying they won't hear policy proposals like the ones we have just been hearing? >> i don't know if i would put immigration reform at the cost of the list. i would put universal coverage at the top of the list. until conservatives can articulate their side they don't deserve to have a broader base of support. the pointe are now at where it should be more a matter of us being outraged that candidates don't have a serious health reform agenda, labor market agenda. those are two particularly crucial pieces. but if you don't have something to say about wage stagnation and what is an actual, viable
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alternative to obamacare, then i think you shouldn't be taken seriously. the last time around, that was not the case. you're the couple of candidates who had exotic tax reform proposals that were exotic, by which i mean laughable. this time around, i think we have enough of an emperor structure. we have enough of a body of ideas where i think it is at a bare minimum the candidates should have some kind of serious agenda around health form, labor market and taxes. i have foundthat certain developments in the republican presidential field moderately dispiriting. maybe there were some people i was excited about in the recent less the caseis la now, but that is actually intellectually useful. >> don't be coy. aboutshould not be
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character or personality. we should have a situation where everyone who wants to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate understands that they need to have a serious agenda. they need to actually engage in these arguments. something weird happens. there are easy ways to become a conservative celebrity, by saying outrageous things, etc.. but some people are realizing that saying new things about real problems that exist is not necessarily the number one way to get attention but it actually is becoming a way to get attention, and i think that's really new and very exciting. be in the early part of every presidential season, candidates would give a series of worthy speeches. george bush came here in 1999 and gave a speech attacking grover norquist, which i loved. he gave that kind of speech. cycles, theyle of have not been giving those
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speeches. my impression is the only person doing that is marco rubio right now. >> of the imaginable candidates, that is probably true. of it is there are more ideas out there. in a sense, the policy vacuum on the right itself has been the fault for a long time of people like us. i think that is less true now because some of the work has been done. some of the thinking has been done, and the working out of what it looks like as a political agenda has been done. the idea that if those things , ast, they are on the ground politician should think at this point of speech i should say something about what i am going to do. we cannot think of ourselves as being on the cutting-edge of anything. i mean, look at us. but that is a way we can be useful. well, some of us. look at me.
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i think the ways in which people who think about policy can be helpful is by preparing the ground, making sure those ideas are out there and that these conversations are happening. there are not separate from the political process. when it is time for a politician to think how do i speak to the party in the country about the issues people face, there are actual ideas out there rather than thinking the only way i can do it is to get this amount of face time on fox and that means i have to say this, that than the other, 9-9-9. >> it seemed for a little while that there was a rising libertarian wave. rand paul certainly exemplifies that. is that still true? >> i think there is on some issues. iy marriage is an issue that think the republicans have lost on and i think that is going to be the future of the party.
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that is going to collapse on both sides. you see a lot less enthusiasm for invading middle eastern countries and so forth then we had in 2003. in that sense, i think it is true. it's just kind of hard to say, in 2012, and the election was interesting because both candidates seemed interested in saying as little as possible about what they would do. can anyone name a policy agenda either obama or romney had other -- other than appealing obamacare? >> i wish mitt romney had noticed. general, there was a reason for that. we are out of money. when you poll people, they want to cut the huge foreign aid
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budget and raise taxes but only on people who make $2 billion a year. they want all the social spending we are doing and everything else and they also want a balanced budget. you can point out things that are mathematically impossible. butnt to balance the budget only raise taxes on four people and don't cut any foreign aid. be 2016ear is that will as well. what i hope is that that will be the way to win. obama won by not adding anything. romney could've won by not saying anything. to talkpe we are going about these problems because they are huge and they need to be addressed. it's no longer possible to sit on the sidelines. to have atried not tax plan, and then and i think february of 2012 he felt like he was backed into a corner by rick santorum, and then like everybody else he felt like he
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needed a tax plan, and it came back to bite him in the fall because the numbers added up to you either had to raise taxes on the middle class or it had to be a net revenue loss. i think the lesson people take away from that is that mitt romney got too specific on policy and would have done well to be even vaguer. they thought through whether they should have a policy agenda and concluded that they should not have one. it left us with a headache. they thought it through. it was not that they had no idea how it would work. they thought the politics of that would be a bad idea. that has to change. the politics of that has to change. >> one thing we have not really talk about this evening is that fragile conservatism is intellectually and also in terms of what appeals to a broad
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section of america. there are a lot of reasons for that. we always talk about economic policy. we like to want out. wonk out. but young people today grew up well after the 1960's. they put last night's date on instagram or snap chat. ist is a large part of what going on in america that we as conservatives have still not moved past the battles of the 1960's. are we comfortable with the fact that the vast majority of americans engage in premarital sex? i don't say that to be ironic. i think that is something conservatives really have wrestled with and don't have a good solution to. i think we will end up a pro-life party that will accept liberal hegemony on other social issues. a marriage is an issue where republicans will
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lose, but if you look at marriage as a whole, it is in -- disastrousape shape, and that will hurt the economy. marriageonal level, makes people happier and healthier. it's actually good for people. if you have serial parenting where people have multiple children by different parents, the father tends to invest in the mother with whom he gets along the best, that is not a stable model for the 21st century. i actually think there is a way in which the gay marriage issue could be used to make a more robust plan. ok, we have marriage equality, now everyone get married. >> you can make that policy. i think actually having people voice cultural policy also matters, right? i mean, look how influential .ollywood was on gay marriage
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the positions tv shows took on a, how much that changed public opinion. >> that we should take over hollywood. >> let me try to answer that question if i can jump out of my moderator role. like most of us here, i looked at pro-marriage policies and my conclusion was that none of them worked. my second solution is that parenting skill coaching actually does work. so don't focus on marriage, ,ocus on parenting skills particularly for single moms. some of that includes nurse family partnership's that government could fund and other things. wouldatter of curiosity, people on this panel support those sorts of allah sees government-funded, maybe if not government delivered, like nurse-family partnerships or early childhood education? >> i think when you're looking
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at parenting skills -- basically, what you see is that everyone is delaying marriage swath ofty, and one the society is delaying children until after marriage and another swath is not. with regard to that kind of investment, i think -- i call myself conservative despite the fact that i am influenced by a lot of libertarian thinking. ofs goes back to the issue inclusion more broadly. when you are looking at how parenting has evolved, when you look at upper middle income people, college-educated people, they are parenting not in the way that people parented in the 1950's and 1960's. they are parenting in a new way, a high investment style that happens to be very well suited to a society with rapid change.
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is high investment parenting something only this narrow group of people can do or isn't something a large swath of the population can do? if you need public policy, as i suspect you do, i think that is something we need to think hard about and feel that it is appropriate for conservatives to embrace, but i think that is going to enter deuce and introduced -- introduce an ew tension. nud there is a lot of exhaustion and faith in failed public institutions, but i think you're saying a whole series of issues, for example, marijuana regulation, where you're seeing the conflict between chaos and order. even subsidies. some libertarians say the labor market is not inclusive enough. minimum wage might not be the way to do it but wage subsidies might make it more inclusive. i think conservatives need to
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feel more comfortable acknowledging that they are not libertarians and i think investing in parenting is one part of that puzzle. >> i want to hit on the theme of paternalism. schools are paternalistic. nurse-family partnerships are paternalistic. as conservatives, are we comfortable with a certain level of public paternalism? >> heart of what has happened in the last few years is a change of ourown understanding fairly recent history. you say welfare reform, which is what everybody talks about first when they talk about conservative public policy. it was very put -- it was very paternalistic. it was also very decentralized. comfortables are with paternalism when it is relatively local and can be defined differently in different places. even if there is sentinel --
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even if there is centralized funding behind it. there's certainly room for that to help people with family formation and with other concerns, but they are always going to work at the margins. it's true, there is some evidence that helping people with parenting skills works. it helps a little. it works better than marriage promotion, which does not really seem to do anything, but it only helps very little. if we talk about the ways in which capitalism does not seem to be working right now, capitalism requires a kind of notzen that it does produce. i think we are seeing now what it looks like when we fail at least in some portions of society to produce that citizen. and you can't blame the people in these situations. you can't blame the larger society, at least not in the simple sense. this is the greatest of it all is the problem we have. am very much an optimist about
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america but on the matter of how to help people in those situations, i don't think anyone has any idea. capitalism requires a kind of citizen it does not produce. very well put. libertarians are pretty comfortable with paternalism aimed at children. treat kids like kids. i'm good with that. i will also say that there is public policy and wages -- when you talk to people who study marriage, a lot of them talk about the fact that the wage situation is such right now that men cannot get steady work for 50 weeks out of the year that pays anything and therefore they are not any use around the house. does marriage promotion work? no, but there are broader public policies where you can try to do things that make it easier to form an intact family. things like early childhood education, i don't know if you
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can actually scale it. i think harry preschools do a good job. i am not convinced you can reproduce perry preschools for 4 million kids a year. a partnership, even if it does a little, is better than nothing for kids who have very little. >> i think it's right that you want to try these things on a decentralized basis. things that involve complex delivery are better off being done by local governments. that i think doing this with a decentralized model depends on having a centralized fiscal policy layer on top of it. it's one thing to say we're going to do parenting classes and various other things to try to improve outcomes for kids and families. it's another to say we are to do this and then we can cut the food stamp program. i
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also just because of the separate approaches with their own merits that can be done together, it's really important to pair those two things. >> thank you. if you don't mind, i'd like to brick bring -- i'd like to bring the discussion from 30,000 feet down to ground level. you have mentioned that it is important to create the citizen for the appropriate scales for the new age. i would put to you that any candidate, democrat or epublican, who can address the problem of having the right worker, the right employee, would get everyone's vote. let me give you an example. the president of the national association of manufacturers said that at any one time there
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are two million manufacturing jobs openings that are going unfilled because of a skills gap. why is that? certainly throwing more money at the education system is not going to close that. so we need a set of policies that closes that skills gap and cements the workers' stake in the system by giving him and her those skills that are marketable nd are sought after. right now manufacturing is 12% of the company. if it can be raised to 15% of the economy, we would have the same level of employment in the manufacturing sector as we had in 1980. now, will we go back to 1946, hell no, that will never happen. but there are -- so the question is, who can help create the kind of policies that will create a
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closure of the skills gap, to create the employee that is ought after by the new cap tal -- capitalist economy? >> there are a couple of questions in that. and all of them are framed from the point of view of an employer in a way that's interesting. that's useful but i think is also probably too often the way conservatives think about questions like this. i would say it's certainly true that our education system -- the education system of any public that takes it seriously is always going to face the challenge of balancing it self -- its self-understanding. is your role to create a citizen that is capable of self-government or the worker your economy needs? the answer is both but the way to balance those, the way to distinguish between what is universal education and what is specialized education for what's needed here and now is a challenge for our education
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system. we at this point are probably not doing either of those things very well and our education system is not great. for many people it's fine. for some people it's absolutely dreadful. from the point of view of employers, it seems to have all the wrong priorities. i think that requires some changes in the way we think about the distinction between higher ed and secondary education. the distinction between worker training and education. those things have got to be -- have got to answer needs that bubble up from the bottom. as you're suggesting. so they've got to be a little more flexible, they've got to be capable of offering people more options, i think there's a lot of room for improvements in the way that our public education system works and the education in general works. i think it's a low-ranging fruit for public policy. there are a lot of low hanging fruits for public policy. there are a lot of places where the inefficiency of the systems that we have is so great and their inability to deal with
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problems that are perfectly obvious is so great that you can really improve things quite a bit in a lot of areas. education certainly is one of them. i think thinking about it in terms of worker training is one obvious way to do it. we do have to be careful it's not the only way to do it, because it's not the only problem with our education system. >> i want to jump on this just briefly. my personal view is that the real problem is that you have corporations that have very high profits right now, you have corporations sitting on enormous reserves of cash and why is that? that's because they're not afraid. i think when you look at economic secters in which firms are afraid that their advantage is going to evaporate, that some new startup is going to come and destroy them, those are the firms that are hiring. facebook started out as a relatively small company. they're hiring quite a lot. they're never going to become as big as g.m. but they're hiring a lot. they're paying higher and higher wages to the people who have skills and that in itself is creating a dynamic in which people are seeking to build those skills. when you look at the corporate
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tax code, the way it rewards large incumbents, if you look at all kinds of aspects that we treat business enterprises, we are not creating an environment in which these firms are afraid. it's perfect to have a safety net for citizens. it's not appropriate to have a safety net for corporations. i think an environment in which more corporations are afraid of business model innovation, i think that would actually be very good and would be particularly good for workers. >> i lsm never disagree with reihan but i have to here. corporations are sitting on cash because of political and economic uncertainty. they're concerned about higher taxes, regulations can drive up the cost of their business, cost f capital. >> let's get some more questions here. >> mike with the manhattan institute. we talked about cities, we talked about conservatives being -- needing a national movement. in order to be a national movement we need to compete in cities. that's how we move senate races and certainly eventually presidential races.
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and we have the examples. we have right here in new york, indianapolis, reforms on public labor and certainly most recently public safety. but we lose cities. so my question is why? is it messaging? do we need a new agenda? many of you would say that we are kind of solving the problems of a decade or two decades ago. but i think in cities we're solving today's problems but we're not getting better. what do we need to do? >> in 2008 when obama was elected, i actually looked at this problem and thought, ok, is this true in other advanced economies? where the cities always vote left and the rural areas always vote right? and it turns out in europe there isn't a clear pattern. in some european countries the cities are actually more politically conservative than the rural areas and there are maybe a lot of different reasons for that. but that gives me hope that there isn't any inherent -- anything inherent about urban life that necessarily means
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people must vote more left than rural people. but i do think it's a huge problem and something we need to address and we have to be willing to compete in areas where there isn't a short-term payoff. that's the hardest thing about the political cycle. is the short-term payoff leads us to cultivate the voters that we can win in the near term and that leads people away from ities. >> thank you for being here today. this has been a very interesting panel discussion. i wanted to ask about education but you touched on that. i want to ask about foreign policy. it doesn't translate into a lot of votes but it's something that's obviously very important. the bush years could be described briefly as perhaps overreach. and now you can say that a conservative critique of obama might be that we withdraw too much and it allows a vacuum for strong men like putin. what would be the conservative response, what would be your response, your policy prescriptions for what's going on in the world right now, particularly in ukraine and
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syria and how you guys would think about handling that? >> i doubt we can touch on all of those things. but this is an area where the panel is pretty divided. joe sonally believe that has this -- he said in the 1990's i think it was, securities like oxygen, you only notice when it's vanished. i personally think that u.s. global leadership, i think it's extremely important in undergirding much of the rice of global prosperity we've seen. i do think it's fair to say there was overreach during the bush years but it's very important that we invest and i think the problem is that the investing in our capabilities, the benefits of that are not always clearly visible. i also think it's true that the problem is that there are big swaps at the national security state that are ok. it's hard to tell. it's hard to have a coherent
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cost-benefit analysis. there are real structural problems and we might want to shift resources. but do i think there's a dangerous tendency on the right to give short drift to the importance of american power undergirding global stability but this is not a popular view. least of all among younger conservatives. >> foreign policy is important but it's not going to be important in the political debates of the next decade or decade and a half. i think -- we've had very little recent time where we've sort of had a normal political environment on foreign policy because we had the cold war and then september 11. got for nk the best we where foreign policy is going to sit in american politics was the period from 1990 to 2001 where it was not salient. you can see that in the way conservatives talk now about the obama foreign policies. they try to find points to sort of harp on where the president is seen as weak. i think that's behind the obsession with the benghazi attack. i think there was also a very telling statement from marco
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rubio about syria, when we were -- when the president was waffling about whether we were going to intervene this and rubio took up a position where he wasn't sure if he was for or against an attack in syria but he was against whatever the president was for. and so i think i don't know what kind of foreign policy a republican president will enact if elected. george w. bush ran things that he was going to have a humbler foreign policy and then september 11 happened and directions changed. i don't think that's going to be a key driver of elections. >> hi. first, thank you, everyone and moderator, for hosting a really interesting discussion. i have a question about health care. 'm directing it toward josh. toward the end of the discussion
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you suggested the decentralization of service delivery as superior. there is a segment of the health care complex called home health agencies and they take patients in a recoup are ative and retabletative phase and bring them home and it suggests much higher outcome, much cheaper delivery. the affordable care act has almost destroyed the industry. it's led to major reimbursement cuts over a multiple last two, three, four years. do you see this vis-a-vis the left-right divide, given there's a superior outcome with it, as something conservatives can reintroduce, repackage, rebrand and sell in the health care complex for superior outcomes? >> i think the interesting thing that we've seen or an interesting thing we've seen with the implementation of obamacare is i think to an extent it's been a driver of innovation among providers because they're faced with these reimbursement rate cuts. there's been a real drive in the industry to find ways to contain
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costs. we've seen i think a slowing in health care expenditure over the last couple of years. and so actually the government turning off those taps to an extent -- and remember, it's not like we had a private health care system before obamacare. we already had the government incurring about half the expenses. so by paying less i think that can be a driver of a kind of decentralized innovation. where the government basically is saying, we're going to pay less. you figure out how to do it with less money. that's not the same as -- that's not to say it's going to work everywhere. if you cut reimbursement rates too much you're just going end to up with scarcity of care. although i would note that among the somewhat disappointing findings from the oregon health study, we found people were consuming substantially more health care if they had medicaid which suggests that barriers to access due to low reimbursement rates were not as large of a problem as people on the right sometimes say. you don't want the federal government going in and telling health care providers exactly
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how to do their jobs. but i do think that centralized fiscal policies can be a driver of decentralized outcomes about service delivery. >> it's very simple. give consumers control of their own health dollars. then all of these things, whether it's home health care, retainer-based primary care, a lot of this stuff will automatically happen. why? because if the consumer is controlling the dollars, then the industry works for who pays them. today it's the government and third parties that pay the deliverers of health care services so the person who is important in that system is the payer, not the patient. if the patient is controlling the dollars then the system magically works to serve the patient. and that's actually -- i resist this call for conservative from a termism because i think the opposite is what we need. we need to actually restrict the doing the government's but actually give people the money.
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so if we're concerned people don't have the means to afford certain services or support themselves in a certain way, that doesn't mean have some complex government program that tells them what to do. give them the economic resources to pursue the people who would deliver those services directly. >> the point that josh finished with, which i very much agree with, in a certain way the home health care question is one that shows the problem of both sites. the system we had before obamacare and the system we have now. in the bush years there was huge pressure to increase investment in home -- in all forms of home-based health care. which was also a sort of centralized decision about how the system should work. it didn't work very well. it was probably an enormous waste of money. and now we're doing the reverse and saying, well, let's have a centralized decision that says, no, we don't do that. neither of these is the right approach. the medicare system we have, and really the larger health care system we've had before, was not consumer-centered, market-oriented system.
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that's the direction that conservatives need to move in. >> some of this sounds very familiar to me. the pessimism i'm hearing was very similar to the pessimism of the late carter years and i was with the reagan administration. it was amazing how quickly things turned around. and i think some of the 1980's solutions are still there. i think problems of regulation, obamacare has messed up the medical markets but it's also messed up the labor markets tremendously. financial regulation, just today there was a report on a large number of new species being declared endangered. i think all these -- everywhere we look the economy -- [inaudible] and i think that's a lot of the unemployment we're seeing goes back to your mill worker. why does he have trouble finding
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a job in maybe because employers won't commit to hiring because they don't know what kind of health care expenses he's going to generate in the future. so i think to the extent, if we could deregulate some of these things, we might be able to move away from many of these problems. >> i agree, but it's also true that the policy challenges of today are very different than the challenges -- policy challenges of 1970. just look at the tax rates in 1978 remember us is the tax rates of today. regulation is a much, much bigger problem than it was then. so we have to have an agenda that is tailored to the challenges of today. >> you guys talked about how there's no republican plan to deal with decentralization in civil society. but i'd argue that the ryan plan was conceptually about that. it was about privatization and voucherization which would decentralize from the federal government and a large amount of
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spending consults which would allow civil society to flourish. that program seemed very popular with republicans and very, very unpopular with the public. so i'm curious if you think these sound like good concept bus if in practice they're going to be too to volatile and unpopular? >> almost no voters care about decentralization as such. so you can't build the message around that. nobody goes into the voting booth and says, do i want a government and society that is more central or less central? they care about more fundamental pocketbook issues. but the ryan plan thing goes to a distinction that i mentioned earlier. you want to decentralize certain kinds of deliveries because of the value of local knowledge, you have different preferences in different areas. bureaucrats who work for local governments are more likely to be in touch with local people or who work with nonprofits than people who work for the central government. but that doesn't mean you have
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to decentralize the actual fiscal flows where the federal government has a significant advantage in its ability to tax and borrow. if you commit to having those decentralized, it gives you more flexibility to centralize our -- other things. this is not just a backdoorway to slash the welfare state and reduce real incomes for people. >> there is a problem that republicans are going to have to deal with. you may have noticed obamacare wasn't popular, still isn't. most things that are actually fiscally feasible are wildly unpopular. people like free stuff that is paid for by some other person they've never met. it has never been more true than it is today because we have an aging population that is very conservative about keeping what it has gotten and because there's less money. with lower growth you face much harder fiscal tradeoffs. you can't take it out of surplus.
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you have to take it out of something that people already have. i think this is going to be a big challenge for republicans as they frame an agenda which is that if you're going to be honest about what it's going to cost and how you're going to do this and who the losers are going to be, because there is no such thing as a policy in which someone is not worse off, then you're going to have to go out and say that. and be credible. that is going to make those people very upset. > democrats can do that. >> i think the problem is that it takes us 40 minutes and a future of conservative -- conservatism talk to mention nything about social issues. we lose people flat-out because we have this bloodletting of state by state gay marriage, yes
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or no. so is there some kind of way that we can avoid a possible skis much of northeast republicans who frankly this issue is settle, right? all of us have gay friends, we're fine with it. but for southern republicans, how do we keep them from going off and causing a schism and running away with todd akin and pat robinson? >> i think even in the south, young republicans have your views on the social issues. so i think this is a generational transition that's going on on both the right and the left that perhaps won't be as substantial of a schismatic issue in the future. but i think that's sort of the political element of it. i actually wish and hope that conservatives would have a coherent political philosophy around what they think culture and society should look like that would accept the post-1960's reality, the world
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we live in. >> a couple questions from social media. but i'm going to jump in. the republican party is a pro-life party. it never will not be a pro-life party it. would die without being a pro-life party. i just have to say that. i'm not a pro-life person. i'm just pointing out the reality. >> there's no generational shift on abortion. >> i carve out abortion from the other social issues. >> this is a question from one of our twitter followers who is watching. it comes and he'd like to know, why not define debt ceiling to e the ratio of debt to g.d.p.? >> the fundamental problem -- this is just a general thing. people believe if they could only come up with some great rule, they could stop people from doing stuff they don't like. we just have to -- first of all, you can never get the rule because the other side understands what you're doing. they're like, no, you can't have the rule. the second problem with this
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specific thing is that there's always going to be an outstanding emergency. we declare war on iceland once a year and then we give them a plan and we've gone right back. there's always ways to gimmick these budget rules. our job is to tell politicians no, don't borrow any more money, cut spending and by the way, i really -- this is something i think the republican party really needs to do is say, when you spend money, that is borrowing it, ok? the decision to spend is the decision ultimately to borrow and then the decision to tax. and george bush totally elighted the fact that when he spent money he was going to have to pay for that through taxation and obama has not even been interested in that discussion. on both sides, we need to understand that they're all the same thing and that trying to focus on the debt ceiling is a way to control that is not focusing on the fundamental problem which is the stuff we bought.
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>> this is not the biggest problem with that. the biggest problem with that is that the economic crisis in this country is massive unemployment and the fact that wage growth is anemic because the labor market is slack. and conservatives have become a movement of people who think that that is a less important issue than government debt even though interest rates are extremely low and capital is flowing into u.s. treasuries because of the market is strongly accepting of the fact that the u.s. government will pay those debts. if we continue to prioritize this debt issue over issues that are actually of economic importance to 58% of americans, we won't -- 85% of americans, we won't be able to appeal with them. >> i disagree with this on two levels. interest rates are low. t just politically, people hate the debt. this is polled incredibly well. everyone hates borrowing money. do they act on that, no. are they totally hypocritical and irrational about it, yes. but is this political problem
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for republicans? no, i think this is something that actually when they go out and talk about it, polled extremely well and does them good at the ballot box. >> it's a profound economic problem. the most profound economic problem. >> a conservative is somebody who thinks every market is efficient except the treasury bond market. [laughter] >> we want to have a debate about monetary policy and what they are, that's fine. but let me tell you. in 2040 when we're paying more in interest payments than we collect in tax revenue and china has twice the g.d.p. than we do, you'll be very concerned about the price of u.s. treasuries. >> we've got one minute left. and i'm just going to ask you one quick informational question. since you're all young hipsters. [laughter] what's the most conservative macklemore song? no. i want you each to name either a politician or a writer who if you had to pick someone to have a profound impact on the future of conservatism/the republican party, pick a person presumably
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not yourself. [laughter] >> i'm willing to say i will probably be the least influential writer on the republican party like ever. all of my ideas are basically electoral death. but -- david brooks. very much. [laughter] >> credibility shot. >> one person who gives me hope at this point is mike lee. who is first of all a senator who doesn't think he's running for president which is just a wonderful thing in american life and very rare. but he's also a person who is shaping a conservative vision that makes a lot of sense to me and i think it would make a lot of sense to a lot of people. >> i think the most important policy innovation coming from conservative politicians right now is on criminal justice. and revisiting the idea that it is a good idea to massively incarcerate people, especially for nonviolent crime. i think there are a number of southern governors who have been doing good things on that, including mississippi and
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ouisiana and north carolina. >> i would say that the most influential writer or politician that we will have in this generation will be the one who makes conservatism accepting of modern society and modern social issues, again leaving abortion aside. maybe that's a politician, maybe it's a writer, we'll have to see. but that person has not yet emerged. >> jim, a gentleman of the manhattan institute, is a guy who is always going to be a niche product. he's not always going to capture the hearts of the massive but he's a guy who really gets the idea that markets are fundamentally about decentralized trial and error. they're actually really important. and that the right really ought to be the party of experimentation. and i encourage everyone in this room and everyone watching to read him. >> he's had some major pieces. >> he's got a lead piece in the
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next "national affairs." >> thank you for that. >> thank you very much, guys. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
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>> in a few moments, the cal report posts supreme court justices scalia and ginsberg. then the bipartisan center for forum. the brookings institution tomorrow morning looking at how russia's annexation of crimea is affect u.s. foreign policy and how it might be a factor in president obama's trip next week to japan, malaysia and the philippines. that discussion is live here on species -- on c-span at 10:00 a.m. eastern. ancient arty is an that goes back to the very beginnings of human history. we do have some interesting artifacts that help people understand just how long people have been making and breaking codes and have had a need for
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cryptology. when we talk about the united to noteit is important that the making and breaking of codes has been a part of america even before we gained our independence. one of our most precious artifacts is referred to as the jefferson cipher device. truth in advertising, it is very important to note that we don't have any definitive conclusive evidence that this particular device belonged to thomas jefferson. but there are some interesting facts about it. one, this device was found in an antique store very close to monticello. it appears to have the ability to cipher french and english. we know that jefferson was an ambassador to france. the most compelling point is of this a drawing device very similar to this in jefferson's private papers. even so, we can't say for sure that jefferson owned it.
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what we can say is this is an excellent example of how people used cryptology in the 19th century. nationalhe nsa's cryptologic museum, making and breaking secret codes sunday at 6:00 and 10:00 eastern, part of american history tv this weekend on c-span 3. justicespreme court antonin scalia and ruth bader ginsburg on the caliber port held at the national press club in washington, d.c. the two justices talk with marvin taub for an hour and a half.
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>> from the national press club, this is "the kalb report," with marvin kalb. >> hello, and welcome to another edition. our program tonight, 45 words, a conversation about the first amendment with supreme court justices antonin scalia and ruth bader ginsburg. it would be an honor obviously to have one supreme court justice as my guest, but have two is indeed a very special privilege, especially these two, who generally represent
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contrasting opinions on the court, and yet they are great friends who dine together, travel together, love going to the opera together. they inspired a new opera called "scaliaginsburg." they inspired a new opera called "scaliaginsburg." they are like the old days when political differences would not stop a friendship. ustice scalia is the longest-serving justice. appointed by reagan in 1986, he is called an originalist, meaning he believes the constitution ought to be interpreted more or less as the founding fathers meant for it to be interpreted. you want change, he says, change the legislature of change the law. his job is to interpret the law.
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justice ginsburg was appointed to the supreme court by president bill clinton in 1993. her view is the constitution is what has been called a living document, meaning it changes as society changes, one linked together. tradition and precedent matter, but they do not determine her udgment. both justices have devoted their lives to the law, teaching, democracy, and freedom. we are going to discuss freedom of the press, but let's start with what the concept of freedom means. its origin, its meaning, at the time of the revolution, and its eaning in today's america. i have always been fascinated by the fact that the first commandment of the 10 commandments in the bible and the first amendment in the
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constitution both stress the central importance of freedom. the first commandment saying i am the lord thy god who brought the forth out of egypt, out of the house of bondage, and thou shall have no other god. the first amendment guarantees freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, of the right to legally assemble, to petition the government for redress of rievances. justice scalia, in your view, is there a link between the first commandment and the first amendment? did one possibly inspire the other? >> oh, i doubt that. >> ok. > i think our constitution was inspired by the traditions of the common law, and i think what
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our framers meant by the freedom of speech, for example, was that freedom of speech which was the birthright of englishmen at the time. i do not think it had anything to do with moses. i think what freedom meant at the time was the absence of constraint, the absence of oercion. so freedom of religion, for example, meant that you could not be constrained to contribute to the support of a church that you did not believe in. you could not be disabled from holding certain public offices because of your religion. absence of coercion. and i think it was the same for freedom of speech. >> justice ginsburg, your view? >> marvin, this is the one question you told us you might ask us. i was puzzled by it, because as
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i read the 10 commandments, the first four of them are not about freedom, they are about human obligations to god. thou shalt have no other god before me, no graven images, keep the sabbath holy, everything, obligations that people owe to the almighty. but i also mentioned to you that your question comes at just the right season, because this is assover, and the passover is indeed a celebration of the liberation of a people, and there are many words in the jewish texts that celebrate freedoms. i would take the passover service rather than the stern first four commandments as advancing the idea of freedom.
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>> i knew i would be wrong -- i knew that to start with. >> you thought you'd be wrong on the law, not on theology. >> what i would like to get at is what your senses that the people who wrote the constitution had in their minds when they talked about freedom. you mentioned common law. common law was not explicit about freedom. many different interpretations were there, and what i am trying to get at is before we get into the specifics of freedom of the press, i would like to know what the concept meant in your understanding. >> i do not think the common law was that diverse as far as what every aspect of freedom consisted of. the freedom of speech was very clear that did not include the freedom to libel, that you could
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be subject to a lawsuit for libel. and that type of coercion was not considered incompatible with the freedom of speech. now, some aspects of it i suppose we were more vague, but some things were pretty clear. >> and, justice ginsburg, the concept of freedom is very prominently featured in the constitution. it is right there in the first amendment. and the writer tom paine had a simple explanation. he wrote, "it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated." it does seem to me, and i will get back to this again and again i think, that if you are going to feature the concept of freedom right up there at the top, you have to have had something in your head about the importance of freedom to what it is that you are doing at the
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time it was beginning to build a democracy. >> there's a point justice scalia made in his opening remarks. he said he sees this first amendment as protection against constraints, government constraint. and there i think our expression of the first amendment is quite different from the expression in the declaration of the rights of man, the french document. the first amendment is saying hands-off, government. it does not say everyone should have the right to speak freely. that is what the declaration of the rights of man says. everyone shall have the right to speak freely. that's not what this has. t is congress shall know all -- congress shall make no law prohibiting the freedom of speech or press. it's directed to government and it says government, hands off.
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these rights already exist, and you must not touch them. >> i'm sorry, please. >> it should not be painted as the foundation of the american democracy, this concept of freedom. do not forget the bill of rights was an afterthought. it was not what they debated about in philadelphia in 1787. a couple of the states that ratified the constitution made it clear that they expected there to be a bill of rights added, but it was added in 1791, on the proposal of the first congress. what they thought would preserve a free society was the structure of the government. that is what they debated about in 1787. and if you think that is false just look around the world.
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every foreign dictator in the world today has a bill of rights. it is not a bill of rights that produces freedom. it is the structure of government that prevents anybody from seizing all the power. once that happens, you ignore the bill of rights. keep your eye on the ball. structure is destiny. >> the eye on the ball being keep your eye on the structure of the government. >>our structure is so different from that of most of the world. there are very few countries that have a bicameral legislature of a genuine one, including england. they do not really have a real bicameral legislature. the house of lords cannot do anything. laughter] when they pass it a second time t becomes law. none of the parliamentary countries that have a separately elected president, the chief executive of all the countries in europe is the tool of the parliament. there is never serious disagreement between them. when there is, they kick them
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out. they have an election and appoint a new tool. i mean, we are so different from the rest of the world, and it is that it has more than anything else preserve our liberties. you would not want to live in most of the countries of the world that have a bill of rights which guarantees freedom of speech and of the press. you would not want to live there. >> i have to disagree with my colleague in that respect. >> i'm glad that you can do it. >> i do not think the rest of the world is regarding our legislature at the current moment as a model to be ollowed. and, second, however it was understood at the beginning, yes, the structure of government was to protect our liberties, but there was always the idea of
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-- think of our first great document, the declaration of ndependence. also, it is true that the great protections that the press now has came rather late. the first amendment was developed in a serious way around the time of the first world war that began. the freedom we enjoy today, to speak and to write, was not a big-ticket item in the supreme court until rather late. >> well, it was a big-ticket item mostly because until the middle of the 20th century, it was not thought to bill of rights applied to the states. it was only a limitation on what the federal government could do, not a limitation on what the states could do.
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that is why we never had until the middle of the 20th century these cases about whether you can have a creche in the city square, a menorah, maybe a santa claus on top. we do not have any of those silly cases. it was only when the bill of rights was imposed upon the states that we begin to appen. a lot of the restrictions on speech that would be imposed by states would not have been thought to violate our bill of rights, maybe the states bill of rights, but not ours. >> i'm wondering at the time that the structure of government was set up close to 200 years ago, what is it that the founding fathers had in mind when they thought about freedom and one definition advanced by john stuart mill i found very compelling, but i do not know whether that is whether they had it in mind.
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he spoke about absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical, speculative, scientific, or theological. i am wondering whether that is what madison and monroe had in mind at that time, or whether they had a more narrow vision of freedom. justice ginsburg? >> i would not call it narrow, but there are no absolute rights, even though you read the first amendment it sounds that way. it says, shall pass no law. of course, there are laws that congress can pass. so the idea of an absolute right i do not know any right that does not have limitations. >> even at that time in the minds of the founders? >> i think so. >> explain why in the first amendment after listing the freedom of speech, the founding
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fathers found it necessary or wanted to add four crucially important words -- "or of the press." freedom of the press is what they were talking about. why did they add that phrase? why was it necessary, justice calia? >> it is a natural addition. it means the freedom to speak and to write. it was not referring to the institutional press, the guy running around with a fedora hat with a sticker that says "press," i am not sure that they need to refer to the institutional press in those days. the freedom to speak and to publish. and that clause has been interpreted, not to get any special prerogatives to the institutional press. it gives prerogatives to anybody who has a xerox machine. >> what do you mean, institutional press cannot forgive me? what does that mean? > i mean those organizations
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whose business is writing and publishing -- nbc, cbs, you. >> i like that. >> one idea we did not take from england was the office of the ensor, who censored books, and that was part of putting in this protection of the press, and we have never had it in the united states government and office of he censor. people in england and the ntinent think of verdi and having to bring his opera gloves. >> oh, you have to bring opera into it. >> was it understood that there ere limitations?
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>> yes, on speech and on oral speech and written speech come up with. i told you, libel laws were one thing. >> what about the press at the time? what were they thinking about at that time? >> i do not know that there were any special rules applicable to the press. the press did not have to get permission of a censor to do publish, but neither did anybody else. >> and some very important figures, like thomas jefferson. >> yes, indeed, and it was interesting that jefferson spoke very highly of the press before he became president. but while he was president he spoke about it as a polluted area, and you cannot believe anything in new newspaper. >> one thing that epitomizes to me the importance of freedom of speech is in the ballot for america, the right to speak my
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ind out. that is america to me. >> i think if you had to pick -- and you probably should not have to -- but if you had to pick one freedom that is the most essential to the functioning of a democracy it has to be freedom of speech. because democracy means persuading one another and then ultimately voting and the majority rules. you cannot run such a system if there is muzzling of one point of view. so it is a fundamental freedom in a democracy. much more necessary in a democracy than in any other system of government. i guess you can run an effective monarchy without freedom of speech. i do not think you can run an effective democracy without it. >> on this matter of press freedom, john adams wrote that mankind cannot now be governed without it, nor at present with it.
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and it seems that the idea of a free press has always been a problem for a succession of american presidents, but in a broader sense, do you feel we could have endured as a democracy from then till now without the free press? what do you think? >> i do not think so. i think the press played a tremendously important role as watchdog over what the government is doing and keeps the government from getting too far out of line, because they will be in the limelight. so, yes, there are all kinds of excesses in the press, too, but we have to put up with that, i think, given the alternative. >> justice scalia, you want to comment on that? > i agree with that.
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>> it is hard to keep the freedom of the press because there are many people who do not like what the press is ublishing. there was a cartoon around -- just after the revolutionary war, and it shows a tory being arted off by the police, and the caption is, "liberty of speech to those who speak the speech of liberty." so the right to speak against government, against what is the prevailing view of society, is remendously important. >> including the right to speak against democracy. do not forget that. some of the biggest fights are whether freedom of speech includes freedom to speak


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